Everyone makes mistakes. But making mistakes when it comes to your home security system can be a huge risk.
If you aren’t properly securing your home, you could be increasing the chance of a break-in or burglary.
To help you avoid that, our expert security system technicians compiled a list of some of the most common home security mistakes that put you, your home and your loved ones at risk.
1. Exposing Valuables to Outsiders
Leaving expensive items in plain view attracts burglars. These items include:
- Computers and tablets
- Stereo equipment
Keep valuables out of sight when you’re not using them. Close your garage doors, fold boxes from expensive purchases inside out before putting them out to the curb and close drapes to shield belongings from prying eyes.
2. Forgetting Security System Credentials
According to Vector Security technician Nick Kearney, forgotten system credentials are quite common.
“When we respond to service calls for system and equipment maintenance, we usually have to reset the customer’s user ID and password because the customer does not remember them,” Kearney said.
To avoid this misstep, consider using a password manager—but only choose one from a well-vetted, secure provider.
3. Leaving Home Without Arming the Security System
It may seem obvious, but you may be surprised at how many of us forget to secure our homes when we leave or turn in for the night.
According to the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report, 36.7 percent of burglaries were unlawful or unforced entry. Break-ins like these can be thwarted with a properly functioning security system—but only if it’s armed.
Make it a habit to turn on your system as soon as you enter your home and right before exiting. If you find yourself forgetting, create reminders such as a note on the door or a special keychain to prompt you.
There are also solutions that will automatically arm or disarm your system when you’re in range. With this technology, called geofencing, certain smart home rules and notifications—like the security system, lights and thermostat—can be enacted based on your proximity to your home.
4. Neglecting Security System Maintenance
While self-testing is a good practice, security equipment should be checked annually by a professional. Security technicians can provide a more specific diagnosis of your system, and professional maintenance prevents homeowners from accidentally damaging their system.
“Although performing system maintenance, like checking the battery on your system, may seem simple, it’s better to leave it to the professionals,” Kearney said. “You don’t want to accidentally damage a sensor, for example.”
“We receive an alert at the monitoring center when batteries are low so we can proactively come out and service the system,” he explained.
5. Not Investing in a Complete Home Security System
Although some security is better than no security, your system is more effective when it’s an end-to-end solution. This means implementing alarms, cameras and other smart home features that work together in harmony for the most beneficial setup.
As it pertains specifically to security needs, cameras are a must-have. Even if you’re aware of your neighborhood and can make a strong hypothesis about any crime taking place, it’s often not enough to press charges against burglars.
“You’ve got to have proof. That’s where the cameras come in,” said Kearney.